Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Sliver of Hope

As I drove to work early Friday morning, I looked up. The sky was unusually dark, appearing almost ominous. The black clouds seemed to hold more than just the possibility of rain. Stopping at a red light and glancing left, I noticed an opening in the gloomy sky. Light broke though a small area, revealing blue-gray yonder. Gazing around the heavens, I saw more brightness shining in spots throughout space. And God said to me, “Hope!”

Driving on, I thought about hope, that God-given notion. Within our sometimes turbulent existence, where is our focus? Do we stare at the ominous threat or do we gaze at the ray of hope? Situations in our lives certainly appear threatening at times. The hopeless darkness can feel so heavy that it’s hard to raise our head upward. The unpromising circumstance can take our eyes off of our God of promise who says to us, “Hope!”

Whatever state you happen to be in right now, stop your thoughts, raise them up to the Lord, and listen to the Word of God. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:2-5 (NIV) 

Rejoice in our sufferings? Really, God? That’s the path to hope? Yes, He tells us, the path may begin in suffering and by holding onto hope, we persevere. Walking in perseverance brings forth character and integrity. From such moral strength we determine to hope, hope in God who has poured His love into our hearts. 

One of the many stories of hope in the Bible lies in the book of Job. It is about a godly man named Job who suffered tremendous pain, losing everything but his life and wife. He did not sin amidst his sorrow but instead worshiped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). His wife did not support his strength. Rather she said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die” (Job 2:9). But Job said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” And the Word goes on to tell us in all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:10).

Then three of Job’s friends showed up to help him flesh out his pain. And he said, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him" (Job 13:15). Job determined to persevere while at another time he said, “Where now is my hope? And who regards my hope” (Job 17:15).  Was he losing hope? Maybe he had moments of doubt and despair, but he continued to hope in God. He declared,“I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). After years of never losing hope, God blessed him with twice the blessings he had lost. Scripture tells us Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons and his grandsons, four generations. And Job died, an old man and full of days (Job 42:16-17 NASB). 

Did Job struggle with his hope in God? Of course he did; he was a frail human being. But as he traveled the path of suffering, God poured out His love into Job’s receptive heart. His pathway led to perseverance, growing his character, and out of that character came hope. And God did not disappoint him, instead He graced him with His presence and many blessings.

Have you lost hope in the middle of your situation? Let the word of God through King David and the apostles Paul and Peter infuse strength within your heart. Then resolve to hope in God.

“And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.  Psalm 39:7 (NASB)

For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.  Psalm 71:5 (NASB)

...rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer...  Romans 12:12 (NASB)
We wait in hope for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord,
    even as we put our hope in you. 
Psalm 33:20-22 (NIV)
(Read all of Psalm 33 and praise your Savior.)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  1 Peter 1:3 (NASB)

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13 (NASB)

H - holding
O - onto
P - perfect
E - expectation

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